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OID Board Hears Farmer Comments

POSTED September 6, 2011 10:39 p.m.

Possible annexations were the topic of discussion at the Sept. 6 regular meeting of the Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors. Following a presentation by OID General Manager Steve Knell about the effect of water sales and how the district might proceed with annexations, the board heard comments and fielded questions from several farmers who have interest in annexing to the district or in having long-term out-of-district water contracts.
Knell showed in his presentation that OID has approximately $13.4 million in annual expenses, not including capital projects, and about $13.9 million in revenue, not including water transfers (sales).
OID’s water transfer contracts for 40,000 acre feet of water have now expired but no new contracts have been set for 2011-2012. However, the district did sell 26,000 acre feet to the Bureau of Reclamation this year.
“Tri-Dam pays the bills but water transfers help rebuild (modernize) the district,” Knell said.
Now with the availability of the water that had previously been tied to water transfers, and the increased development of high-value crops outside OID’s service area, OID is considering whether or not to annex some of these properties, as well as how they would go about it.
Current annexation rates to OID are $2,500 to $3,000 per acre, and going up as the district continues to make improvements.
Director Jack Alpers commented that if the district allows annexations, he doesn’t want the price passed on to current constituents, adding that those who annex have to pay their share so others don’t have to pick up the bill. Directors Steve Webb and Frank Clark also had similar comments.
Director Al Bairos pointed out that at this point it is just discussion and brainstorming to determine how the district will handle annexations.
Knell noted that there are about 10,000 acres that people are interested in annexing to the district; however, he said of those, he doesn’t know who is truly serious and prepared to move forward with the process.
A future date to revisit the topic was not set at the meeting but the board seemed interested in continuing analysis of how to deal with the matter.
In other business, the board unanimously approved extending the irrigation season with an extra rotation. The 2010-2011 irrigation season ends on or about Sept. 30 on rotation 16. Water deliveries after that date are charged to OID’s 2012 water usage.
The extra rotation will be offered as a 14-day rotation and will end on midnight Oct. 14.
The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20 in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.

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